The Design of Striate Cortex
Our lack of knowledge about the functions of most regions of the brain makes it difficult to discuss how different parts of it may have evolved, and why particular brain regions are differently organised in different species. It is relatively easy to understand why the shape of a bird’s beak varies from one species to the next, since the function of the beak is understood, but why is the lateral geniculate nucleus of a monkey organised differently from that of a cat or a mouse? A satisfactory explanation of the evolution of the lateral geniculate nucleus (or that of almost any other brain region) is impossible because we have very little idea of what the nucleus is for. Although discussing the evolution of the striate cortex may seem an equally impossible task, we do have some ideas about its possible function, thanks mainly to the work of Hubel and Wiesel, and my purpose in this chapter is to discuss one of their suggestions about what striate cortex does, and to show how this may have influenced some aspects of its design or evolution.
KeywordsPoint Image Lateral Geniculate Nucleus Macaque Monkey Striate Cortex Ocular Dominance
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